THE COMPILER OF THE NUREMBERG CHRONICLE
OF 1493 AND HIS BOOK COLLECTION
The Nuremberg physician Hartmann Schedel (1440-1514) is known mainly as the compiler of the World Chronicle which was published by Anton Koberger in a Latin and German version in 1493. The Chronicle is the most lavishly illustrated book printed in the 15th century, famous particularly for the views of European towns it contains. In contrast, the Chronicles
text has received only scant attention. Hartmann Schedel compiled it from a large variety of sources that he had assembled over decades in the course of his studies and professional career, which took him to the universities of Leipzig and Padua before he finally settled in his home town of Nuremberg for the rest of his life.
This book accompanies an exhibition shown on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Hartmann Schedels death at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich, where the largest part of the learned doctors library has been preserved since 1571. Some 40 manuscripts and early printed books are presented. Schedels book collection is one of the very rare examples
of a late mediaeval private library to have survived the centuries in an unusually complete state. It spans a wide range of subjects, beginning with university textbooks on the arts and on medicine which Schedel copied by hand, and includes a large number of early printed books produced by German and Italian presses. Schedel was interested in nearly all subjects:
rhetoric, astronomy, philosophy, classical and humanist literature, historiography, geography and cosmography, medicine, law, theology. He enhanced his books with painted and printed images and stored letters and other documents in them. Some of his manuscripts contain autobiographical information, as well as portraits, inventories of property and a travel diary. There is hardly another fifteenth-century author about whom we know so many private details. Through his unique manuscripts and rare incunables, Schedel springs to life for us as a person.
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This book accompanies the exhibition »Welten des Wissens. Die Bibliothek und Weltchronik des Nürnberger Arztes Hartmann Schedel (14401514)« held from 19 November 2014 to 1 March 2015 in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich.